SodaStream (Nasdaq: SODA ) isn't resting on its fizzy laurels.
The company behind the popular home-based soda makers is launching a new appliance that makes the process of transforming still water into sparkling even easier.
The new Revolution machine does away with the manual controls of the SodaStream machines that are already on the market. Yes, that means that the soda maker is its first electrically powered gadget. That may take away the portability of the original, but buyers are getting some cool perks:
- Instead of mastering the art or science behind the right amount of carbonation, Revolution has four different settings. A simple push of a button fizzes up the water.
- Current models find thirsty users twisting in their bottles of water for carbonation. Revolution bottles snap right on to the nozzle.
- An LED screen animates the carbonation process in progress but -- more importantly -- shows the level of CO2 still left in the replaceable carbonator.
Revolution will hit retailers during the fourth quarter in time for this year's critical holiday shopping season. It will retail for "under" $200, or roughly twice the price of the entry-level model but not that much more than its fancier starter kits.
SodaStream is coming off a more than decent holiday quarter. Revenue climbed 32% to $85.7 million, and adjusted earnings rose 21% to $6.7 million. Some investors were concerned that starter systems weren't growing as quickly as the consumables (carbonator refills and soda flavors), but new sales through the Revolution will help.
The new electric appliance is just one more reason to expect SodaStream to close out 2012 in better shape than when it started. New flavors sweetened by the all-natural plant-based stevia and Kraft Foods' (NYSE: KFT ) Country Time and Crystal Light flavors will hit the market this summer.
There also aren't the fears that what happened to fellow beverage maker Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (Nasdaq: GMCR ) late last week -- where its stock got slammed after Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX ) announced that it would be putting out a high-end single-serve coffeemaker -- will happen here.
Do you think the soda giants would threaten their network of regional bottling partners by entering and thereby validating the niche home-brew market for soda? Of course not.
Revolution may be a hit. It may also be a dud. After all, it still leaves out one of the messier aspects of the SodaStream creation process -- adding the flavored syrup that can always bubble over if the water is too cold or the bottle isn't held just right. However, Revolution won't be replacing any of the existing models. We're talking about more shelf space, slightly improved convenience, and incremental sales.
There's nothing flat about that.
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